Several new books came in this week, starting with REDHEADS DIE QUICKLY, the first collection of Gil Brewer's short fiction, edited by David Rachels and published by the University Press of Florida. All the stories in this book come from assorted detective pulps and digests published during the 1950s. It took me a while to become a Brewer fan, probably because I didn't really like the first novel of his that I read (WILD!), but his work has won me over. He was one of the great noir novelists of his era. (Actually, come to think of it, the first Gil Brewer novel I read was one of his IT TAKES A THIEF novelizations in the Sixties, but that doesn't really count because I didn't have any idea then who Gil Brewer was, just a name on a book, and I was crazy for anything and everything in the secret agent/espionage vein.)
Now for some pulp reprints, starting with three from Black Dog Books. BRING 'EM BACK DEAD collects the first three novels from the long-running Dan Fowler series, which were originally published in G-MEN. These are by George Fielding Eliot, the creator of the series. I've read quite a few Dan Fowler novels and enjoyed all of them, but I don't think I've read any of these three. The introduction in this volume is by best-selling thriller writer Matt Hilton. DUSTY AYRES – INVASION OF THE BLACK LIGHTNING likewise reprints the first three novels in a series, although Dusty Ayres and His Battle Birds didn't last nearly as long as Dan Fowler. I read the first novel in this series many, many years ago in the Corinth Regency paperback reprint, but I have no memory of it except that I liked it. The author is prolific pulpster and boys' books author Robert Sidney Bowen, and the intro in this one is by publisher Tom Roberts. IN THE NAME OF HONOR by Albert Payson Terhune is a historical adventure novel originally published in THE ARGOSY in 1908. Terhune is best known for his dog stories, but he got his start in historical fiction.
Moving on, we have four volumes from Altus Press. BETTER THAN BULLETS is Volume 1 in The Complete Adventures of Thibaut Corday and the Foreign Legion by Theodore Roscoe, who was one of the best writers in the pulps. The Thibaut Corday series, which appeared in ARGOSY, is top-notch adventure fiction all the way. This volume reprints the first six stories from the series, and I look forward to getting the others. I've read scattered Corday stories, but now I can read the whole saga from the start. Altus Press has also started a series called TERROR TRIOS, with introductions by John Pelan, each of which reprints three novellas from the Weird Menace pulps by a specific author. The three volumes so far are DEVILS OF THE DARK by Hugh B. Cave, DEATH UNDERGROUND by Wyatt Blassingame, and SPAWN OF THE FLAMES by Wayne Rogers (whose real name was Archibald Bittner). I love Weird Menace stories when I'm in the right mood for them, and these look like dandies. Anyway, you can never go wrong with Hugh B. Cave, a fine writer and a real gentleman with whom I traded a number of emails during the last few years of his life.
As if that wasn't enough, last week I paid a visit to a used bookstore where I'd never been, J&E Recycled Reading in Brownwood (I was down there for a family get-together). It's a good store overall, but it has an excellent Western section. Not many vintage paperbacks, but a lot of Eighties series books that just don't show up much around Fort Worth anymore. I bought too many to list, but some highlights are a couple of Ernest Haycox books (one novel and a collection of two novellas from SHORT STORIES), some Sundance novels by Peter McCurtin, a couple of Lassiters by Jack Slade (also, in this case, Peter McCurtin), and some Gordon D. Shirreffs. To top it off, a good friend sent me a stack of Westerns by William Hopson, a writer whose style could be a little odd but whose books are generally very good. And of the ones my friend sent, I'd read only one, so it's a real treasure trove for me.
Now my only problem is finding the time to read some of these great books! If I start blogging a little less, you'll know I'm up to my ears in fiction . . .